Bacterial Adhesion

  • Itzhak Ofek
  • Edward A. Bayer
  • Soman N. Abraham


Although bacteria adhere to many different types of surfaces present in their habitat, this review focuses on bacterial adhesion to animal cells and tissues as a first step in the ability of pathogens to colonize and subsequently cause tissue damage. Accordingly, basic principles that govern the interaction of bacterial adhesins to their cognate receptors on animal cells are presented, such as fimbriae as adhesin structures. Significantly, we discuss the types of receptor-adhesin relationship, the phenomenon of multiple adhesins each specific for distinct receptors produced by pathogenic clones, the identity of glycoconjugates as receptors for lectins that serve as adhesins, and the interaction of bacterial adhesins with the extracellular matrix on animal tissues. Finally, a specific section is devoted to recent developments in preventing or treating infections by blocking bacterial adhesion to animal cells. In this context, a review of the different approaches of antiadhesion therapy is discussed, including the use of receptor and adhesin analogs, dietary constituents, sub-lethal concentrations of antibiotics, and adhesin-based vaccines. A discussion and summary of these topics focus on the in vivo data, including human trials, whereby plant extracts are used as a source of antiadhesion agents to prevent or treat urinary tract infections caused by Escherichia coli and infectious gastritis or peptic ulcer diseases induced by Helicobacter pylori and to maintain oral health.


Human Milk Otitis Externa Cranberry Juice Sugar Specificity Fimbrial Subunit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This chapter is dedicated to the memory of Professor Nathan Sharon (Department of Biological Chemistry, Weizmann Institute of Science) who passed away on June 17, 2011. Professor Sharon was co-author of this chapter in the first two editions of the Prokaryotes series, and many of the concepts expressed by the authors in the current chapter are inspired from his scientific contributions to the field of bacterial adhesion.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Itzhak Ofek
    • 1
  • Edward A. Bayer
    • 2
  • Soman N. Abraham
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Human MicrobiologyTel-Aviv UniversityRamot-AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Biological ChemistryThe Weizmann Institute of ScienceRehovotIsrael
  3. 3.Program in Emerging Infectious DiseasesDuke-National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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